Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 2:19 pm | Partly Cloudy with Haze 60º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Susan Estrich: ‘Pro-Life’ Pranks Harming Planned Parenthood, Vital Research

No one has a later term abortion because she’s changed her mind about having a baby.

Doctors in almost all states won’t perform them for that reason; and, by the way, what kind of beasts do you think women are? Late-term abortions are tragedies, often a last resort because much-wanted babies, or their mothers, develop conditions not consistent with life.

The saddest day I ever spent in a chemotherapy room was the day I sat with my friend (who was dying in her 60s), and watched as a brand-new mother was wheeled in, baby in lap, by her own mother, to begin the chemotherapy she had deferred, risking her own life.

That a bunch of pranksters eager to score deceptive political points can take tragedies like these and turn them into political games is shameful.

Calling this a scandal about the sale of fetal tissue is like calling the organ donation program a scandal. No one is “selling” anything; this is not a revenue stream for Planned Parenthood, which is a nonprofit organization. Planned Parenthood gets reimbursed for transportation and related costs.

And why are these “ghouls” so interested in donating fetal tissue? Some ghoulish game? No. These “ghouls” are medical researchers trying to save lives, so that maybe someday if your baby is found to have such a condition, he can survive.

And yes, sometimes parents actually say they want their lost dream, their tragedy, to potentially help others, so of course the abortion procedure, consistent with putting the mother’s health first, should be performed in a way that might maximize the potential to recover particular or valuable tissue that might save lives in the future — and is saving no one now.

How exactly did these folks manage to own the moniker “pro-life”? Pro whose life?

I am pro saving lives. I am pro helping mothers to have healthy babies. I am pro doing everything we can to spare mothers the heartbreak of not hearing a heartbeat or the long pause when someone realizes the organs aren’t developing right.

Forcing a mother to give birth to a child who cannot live, and denying her the chance to contribute to future scientific research (a tiny consolation that some good might come from such sadness) — how is that pro-life?

Eventually the storm will blow over, as people watch the whole unedited tape and realize that no one at Planned Parenthood was headed for Vegas with the proceeds of tissue sales, that no one was seeing it as a way to make money but as a way to maximize much-needed research.

And the two doctors mentioned on the tape are probably under police protection now, along with their families, assuming the usual quotient of crazy death threats in this debate.

Hopefully no one will die. Hopefully no “true believer” out there will make the mistake of thinking this rhetoric is something more than the fire breath of cowardly dragons, and try to act on it.

But you have to wonder: If you were an obstetrician with young children of your own, would you take a job at Planned Parenthood? Would you help a woman in her third trimester who found out the pregnancy could kill her and her unborn child?

Or would you grab a video camera, hide it away and see if you could somehow incriminate these brave and courageous doctors, who are literally risking their lives to help patients and trying to contribute to the next generation of research so that someday another woman may be spared the pain that she will never forget.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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